When will the Brahmin-Bania hegemony end?

When will the Brahmin-Bania hegemony end?
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First Published: Fri, Aug 28 2009. 12 30 AM IST

Ruling axis: Jawaharlal Nehru, a Brahmin, became Prime Minister with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, a Bania.
Ruling axis: Jawaharlal Nehru, a Brahmin, became Prime Minister with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, a Bania.
Updated: Fri, Aug 28 2009. 11 08 PM IST
On 9 April, the Supreme Court rejected a plea that the 2011 census be caste-based. CII and Ficci oppose job reservations in the private sector, but Manmohan Singh is keen. India’s population of Brahmins and Banias and Jains all together is 6% or less.
Ruling axis: Jawaharlal Nehru, a Brahmin, became Prime Minister with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, a Bania.
The Sensex comprises the 30 largest traded companies of India.
ACC is run by a Brahmin (Sumit Banerjee), Bhel is run by a Brahmin (Ravi Kumar Krishna Swamy), Bharti Airtel is run by a Bania (Sunil Mittal), Grasim and Hindalco are run by a Bania (Kumar Mangalam Birla).
HDFC is run by a Bania (Deepak Parekh), Hindustan Unilever is run by a Brahmin (Nitin Paranjpe), ICICI Bank is headed by a Brahmin (K.V. Kamath). Jaiprakash Associates is run by a Brahmin (Yogesh Gaur), L&T is run by a Brahmin (A.M. Naik), NTPC is run by a Brahmin (R.S. Sharma), ONGC is run by a Brahmin (also called R.S. Sharma). Reliance group firms are run by Banias (Mukesh and Anil Ambani), State Bank of India is run by a Brahmin (O.P. Bhatt), Sterlite Industries is run by a Bania (Anil Agarwal), Sun Pharma is run by a Bania (Dilip Shanghvi) and Tata Steel is run by a Brahmin (B. Muthuraman).
Punjab National Bank is run by a Brahmin (K.C. Chakrabarty), Bank of Baroda is run by a Brahmin (M.D. Mallya) and Canara Bank is run by a Bania (A.C. Mahajan).
Of India’s software companies, Infosys is run by a Brahmin (Kris Gopalakrishnan now and Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani before him). TCS is run by a Brahmin (Subramanian Ramadorai). Wipro is owned by a Khoja (Azim Premji). Khojas are Shia of the Sevener sect, converted from the Luhana trading community (same caste as L.K. Advani and M.A. Jinnah).
India’s two largest airlines are Kingfisher, owned by a Brahmin (Vijay Mallya) and Jet, owned by a Bania (Naresh Goyal).
Of India’s mobile phone firms, Reliance Communications (Ambani), Airtel (Mittal), Vodafone Essar (Ruia), Idea (Birla), Spice (Modi) are owned by Banias. BSNL is run by a Bania (Kuldeep Goyal) and Tata’s TTML is run by a Brahmin (K.A. Chaukar).
Cricket in India is run by a Bania (Lalit Modi) and before him it was run by another Bania (Jagmohan Dalmiya).
Media in India is almost entirely controlled by Banias and Jains. Of the two largest English newspapers, The Times of India is owned by Jains and the Hindustan Times is owned by Banias (Birla). The third largest English paper, The Hindu, is owned by Brahmins (Kasturi Iyengar family). The Indian Express is owned by Banias (Goenka). Zee TV is owned by a Bania (Subhash Chandra Goel). Of the two largest Hindi newspapers, Dainik Jagran is owned by Banias (Gupta), and Dainik Bhaskar is owned by Banias (Agarwal). The Agarwals also own Gujarati daily Divya Bhaskar. The largest Gujarati newspaper Gujarat Samachar is owned by Jains (Shah). The largest Marathi paper Lokmat is owned by Jains (Darda). Rajasthan Patrika is owned by Jains (Kothari). Navbharat Times is owned by Jains and Hindustan owned by Banias (Birla). Amar Ujala is owned by Banias (Maheshwari).
Of India’s steel companies Essar is owned by Banias (Ruia), ArcelorMittal is owned by a Bania (Laxmi Mittal), Ispat is owned by Banias (Mittals), Jindal Steel is owned by Banias, Bhushan Steel is owned by Banias (Singhal), VISA Steel is owned by Banias (Agarwal). State-owned SAIL is run by a Bania (S.K. Roongta) and Lloyd Steel is owned by Banias (Gupta).
Of India’s cement companies, Ambuja is owned by Banias (Neotia and Sekhsaria), Dalmia Cements is owned by Banias, Ultratech and Vikram Cement are owned by Banias (Birla) and JK Cement is owned by Banias (Singhania).
Hindustan Motors is owned by Banias (Birla) and Bajaj Auto is owned by Banias.
Old economy, new economy: All economy in India is owned and run by two castes.
The Brahmin used his monopoly on knowledge and the Bania used his high-trust culture of trade to become dominant. Their skills are world-class. Given the realities of capital formation, it is difficult for other castes to catch up soon.
The largest caste in India is Shudra.
We think Shudra means untouchable, but it actually means peasant. The peasant castes, such as Patel, constitute more than 50% of India’s population.
Andhra Pradesh is run by a peasant Christian (Y.S.R. Reddy), Bihar is run by a peasant Kurmi (Nitish Kumar) and Gujarat is run by a peasant from the Teli/Ghanchi caste (Narendra Modi).
Haryana is run by a peasant Jat (Bhupinder Hooda), Karnataka is ruled by a peasant Lingayat (B.S. Yeddyurappa), Kerala is run by a peasant Ezhava (V.S. Achuthanandan) and Madhya Pradesh is run by a peasant OBC (Shivraj Chouhan).
Maharashtra is run by a peasant Maratha (Ashok Chavan), Rajasthan is run by a peasant Mali (Ashok Gehlot), Punjab is run by a peasant Jat (Parkash Badal), Tamil Nadu is run by a peasant Vellalar (M. Karunanidhi) and Uttar Pradesh is run by a Dalit (Mayawati).
Only one large state in India is run by a Brahmin and he, West Bengal’s Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, is a Communist.
India’s Prime Minister is a Sikh (Manmohan Singh) and President is a peasant Maratha (Pratibha Patil).
At independence, India was run by a Brahmin (Jawaharlal Nehru) whose mentor was a Bania (Mahatma Gandhi). The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was a Brahmin (Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant), the first chief minister of Gujarat was a Bania (Jivraj Mehta). Madhya Pradesh was run by a Brahmin (Ravi Shankar Shukla), Rajasthan was run by a Brahmin (H.L. Shastri), Kerala was run by a Brahmin (E.M.S. Namboodiripad), Punjab was run by a Brahmin (G.C. Bhargava) and Assam was ruled by a Brahmin (G.N. Bordoloi).
At independence, the peasant had neither political nor economic strength. Democracy transferred power from the Brahmin to him.
The Brahmin and the Bania still control the economy, but now the Shudra controls politics.
The Brahmin and Bania oppose reservations in the private sector, which they totally dominate. The Shudra wants his share, but the Brahmin and Bania say their dominance is from merit.
The Brahmin and Bania control the media, but the Shudra controls legislation.
Sooner rather than later, reservations will come.
(Mint is published by HT Media Ltd, which also publishes Hindustan Times.)
Aakar Patel is a director with Hill Road Media. Write to Aakar at replytoall@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Aug 28 2009. 12 30 AM IST